Let’s be honest. Litter boxes are a form of resistance, a necessary evil that cat lovers accept for the sake of cat ownership. But what if you can make your cat’s potty more comfortable? Instead of hiding the litter box, hug it and make it more comfortable for you and your cat. The more she likes it, the more she will use it. Nobody wants to deal with a cat who goes outside the litter box.
“If a cat doesn’t like the litter or the area the litter box is in, it will likely urinate, defecate, or both outside the box,” said Megan Allred, grooming coordinator for Salt Lake County Animal Services in Salt Lake City. Utah. “They’ll find a place they like better.” It goes without saying that this is unlikely to be a more attractive place to be!
Speaking of appealing, what YOU find appealing about litter boxes or litter boxes isn’t necessarily what your cat will find appealing.
“Cats still retain a lot of their wild instincts,” said Los Angeles cat expert Samantha Bell, celebrity and entertainment coordinator for Best Friends Animal Society. “We took these wild creatures and forced them to live in our world. Everything you do for a cat should be aimed at making them feel more comfortable, not us. Owning a cat is a wonderful display of selflessness. “
Let’s go over some key litter box tips that can make all the difference.
Where is my box?
It is tempting to banish your cat’s litter boxes to the most remote corners of the house. After all, out of sight, out of mind (and nose). But don’t let your cat travel every time he needs to pee. Older cats in particular can have a hard time walking long distances or walking up and down stairs. Some cats are just lazy and may be looking for closer places.
“Most cats are social beings and like to be part of the action even when they poop,” says Samantha, who has two litter boxes in the living room and one in the bathroom. “When I’m in the living room, my cats use that. When I’m in the bathroom, my cats use that.”
What kind of smell is that?
Even when people spice up their own guest toilet with flowers, scented candles or potpourri, heavy scents are the last thing your cat will appeal to. Your sense of smell is much stronger than yours. What smells like a touch of flowers to you, smells like the overwhelming stench of a department store perfume counter to your cat.
What is this stuff?
Cats can be picky about bedding, especially the smell and feel of their paws.
Choose litter that your cat really likes. If she doesn’t find the litter appealing, she may not be using the box. Cat litter comes in many different forms. Unscented, soft bedding is attractive to many cats, so try it first. If your cat isn’t a fan, try different ways until you work on one that works.
If your cat is one of the very picky ones, don’t be afraid to think outside the box, so to speak. “A couple of times we had a cat that didn’t like the cat litter that we tried,” says Megan. “As a last resort, we tried dirt … and it worked!”
Is this thing clean?
Just as humans like a clean toilet, cats enjoy a clean litter box. If you haven’t taught your cat to use the human toilet, or to own one of these fancy self-washing devices, it is important to keep track of things to keep your cat’s crate clean.
“Clean litter boxes every day,” says Megan. “This will help you and your cat keep the odor down.”
Time for some fun
Once you know your cat loves the litter box, litter box, and bathroom area, it’s time to dress her up. Hang fun or creative works of art on the walls. If the litter box is in a bathroom, add in some cute cat-themed towels, a whimsical cat rug, cat soap dispenser, or cat-shaped toilet brush holder. Keep giveaways in a decorative basket or box. Litter boxes are part of everyday life for cats, but who says they have to be boring? Just take part!
Litter box rules
Cat expert Samantha Bell, celebrity and entertainment relations coordinator for Best Friends Animal Society, shares the basic rules of thumb for litter boxes:
- Use an open box that is not covered
- Have one box per cat plus an extra box – if you have two cats you should have three boxes
- Spread boxes around different areas of the house – from a cat’s point of view, two boxes next to each other are basically just one box
- Buy a big enough box – at least 1½ times the length of the cat
- Clean all boxes at least once a day, preferably more often